Hi, all. And by “all,” I mean Mom. Thanks for sticking with me, Mom. And for the lovely scented candle for Christmas. You’re the best.
I’ve been away, doing all sorts of things, like laundry, and never-ending dishwashing, and parenting, and spousing, and writing a novel that I buried under a tree in the backyard, and then writing another novel which is still above ground, and getting a puppy, and craving a nap. We can get to all that later, Mom, because now is the best time to buy a Kimberly Stuart book, and in celebration of frightfully low prices (FIVE DOLLARS EACH!), I’m giving a peek behind the curtain for each of my five novels. Today’s scoop: Balancing Act.
Remember Balancing Act? My very first novel and the first in the Heidi Elliott series? Total therapy to write. I wrote that book as if my friends were all in the room, laughing with me and telling stories about motherhood and marriage and friendship. You probably know most of these, Mom, since we talk every day, but you and I both know our collective memory bank is coming up short of a zero balance these days, even without a shared history of marijuana smoking. So I’ll just throw these out there and you can pretend to remember when I know you don’t:
*Balancing Act came about after I met a fantastic editor, Andrea Christian. Andrea hated my non-fiction stuff but was interested in the first few pages of Tightrope, the initial title of BA. I finished it while pregnant with Mitch, who is now ten years old. I still associate BA with a belly that slowly grew over the keyboard of my laptop. When it passed QWERTY, it was time to go to the hospital.
*There were those in the Christian publishing world that got VERY nervous that Heidi and her husband, Jake, ALMOST HAVE SEX on page 45. It fell to me to explain that Christians have sex. The shock is still reverberating.
*The character of Willow is a combination of two characters I wrote into the first edition and which got axed by my editor. I did curse my editor and all of his descendants during that rewrite but have totally reneged on the curse since then. (Hi, Jeff! Hope all is well!)
*My aunt Jana is every bit as gorgeous and smitten-worthy as the character named after her, only she’s not an adulteress. (Hi, Auntie! Clearing the record, a decade late!)
*I loved every bit of mail I got after Balancing Act released, and I still love it when readers ask for another Heidi book. I will someday. I promise. But my favorite email came from a former student who said reading Jake and Heidi’s story reminded her of how important it was to nurture and care for her young marriage. She said my tiny, insignificant novel had helped save her marriage. Remember that, Mom? I’m crying now to think of it. And I was just trying to make people laugh and forget about the trials of lactating! What a gift, this writing gig.
Thanks for circling back here, Mom. And all you dear people who make story-telling so much fun. 2016 holds lots of promise. I’m glad you’re here.
Tomorrow: Inside scoop on Bottom Line, the second book in the Heidi Elliott series.